Rochdale soldier who saved colleagues by firing at enemy despite being shot awarded Freedom of Borough

By Mancunian Matters Staff

An heroic Rochdale soldier is set to be awarded Freedom of the Borough for his brave actions which saved fellow soldiers while they lay wounded on the front line in Afghanistan – even though he had been shot himself.

Lance Corporal Stephen Shaw has already been awarded the Military Cross in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land.

The 24-year-old soldier will also have the major honour of having a street in his home town of Heywood named after him to recognise his valiant efforts.

Councillor Alan McCarthy, who proposed the honour to make 24-year-old LC Shaw a Freeman of the Borough, described him as a ‘true hero’.

“His actions during an horrific attack were in the very finest traditions of the British Army,” he said.

“Despite being shot, this young and inexperienced soldier had the presence of mind to return fire and give directions to his commander. 

“He then took the deliberate decision to enter the killing area to the aid of four of his colleagues who lay wounded. The borough has been shown in a positive light by his actions.”

There will be a ceremony held to honour Lance Corporal Shaw after councillors at Rochdale Town Hall agreed his actions deserved attention.

Part of Church Street, which runs through the town centre of Heywood, will be renamed L/Cpl Stephen Shaw MC Way.

The renaming of the street marks a very rare step, as does the honour of being given Freedom of the Borough, something which Council Leader Colin Lambert acknowledges.

“This is a way for our borough to show how exceptionally proud we are of Stephen, and we did not hesitate to support it,” he said.

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